One of the things that is one of those “I love it but I hate it and I wish we could fix it but it’s not so bad that we can’t but we’re kind of silly for not correcting” (you know those, right?) issues I have with Lucas is that he is a great sleeper, but only if he’s in bed with one of my family members. He came home with us and was silent for his entire first night, and then after that all hell broke loose. He wouldn’t go into his crate without crying, I spent endless, sleepless nights on an air bed near his cage, and my whole family was miserable. For months we trained him in the crate and he would make it until about two in the morning before he started crying and either my dad or I would head downstairs and let him sleep on us on the couch just so he would shut up. I knew it then that what we were doing was wrong, but it was the only issue we had with him at the time, and we all had to get a good night’s sleep. Fast forward to about a year ago, and he’s been sleeping in our beds ever since then. If you need to know how to establish a sleeping routine for your dog so that you don’t fall into the same rut as my family, keep reading.
Your dog should have a designated area for sleep associated with positive energy. When you bring a new puppy home it is important to establish boundaries, and your dog knowing where he belongs in the house is part of that. Whether he will be sleeping in a particular room, gated in with a bed, or in a crate, he needs to know right away that that is his space. Throw a treat into the area so that he associates the space with positive energy, rather than placing him there by picking him up, which can associate negative energy.
If you want to eventually share you bed with your dog, do not do it straight away. Before you can welcome your dog into your bed, he needs to have his own routine established for sleeping. Don’t get me wrong, I love having Lucas in my bed with me, and I know a lot of dog owners feel the same way about having a built in snuggle buddy in bed, but there need to be rules and routines first. Do not coddle your dog. Much like a newborn baby, you cannot run to your dog as soon as he starts crying. Let him cry it out. Buy a set of ear plugs, shut your door, and try not to feel so desperately sad that your pooch is sad. It’s hard, but it’s necessary.
Invite your dog into your bedroom. Going into the bedroom should be a treat for your dog. He should only come in when he is invited to. Once he knows that the bedroom is your space, you can call him in and let him in your bed.
Make sure you and your dog are both comfortable with the sleeping arrangements. Your dog should sleep in a place that is appropriate for his size; he should be comfortable and able to sleep peacefully wherever it is designated. If you are worried about your dog at night, he will read your negative vibes and feel uneasy as well. If you are planning on switching your dog’s sleeping location, tire him out with exercise so that he is ready to sleep the night wherever it is that you move him.
I wish that I had done some of these things with Lucas, because while I love having him in my bed, sometimes I wish that he was more independent and could sleep in a bed in the hall without one of my family members right next to him. He does hog the space and blankets a bit.